Counter-argument VI: Outsiders

5 April – 19 May 2024

When established cultural hegemonies undergo shifts in their normative forms of power, and the familiar matrices of domination within institutions become less apparent, a pressing question emerges: is it still feasible to subversively intervene in an organism that promotes openness and inclusive diversity as its sources of strength? Where is the potential for the propagation of alternative ideas, for resistance, for opposition to manifest? Is it possible to act without being complicit in the existing system and what does it mean to be an outsider today?

We are united by the sense that beneath the veneer of such concepts as inclusion, diversity, equality, empowerment, representation, social justice, opportunity, cooperation, networking, solidarity, empathy, openness, […], there are decentralised formations of power that are difficult to see, strands of influence that are elusive, unravelled. There are forces and practices that categorise subjectivities and are organised in such a way that even resistance to them is counteracted by its colonisation, absorption, and activation in a direction that is favourable to itself. Identifying decision-making hubs has become progressively challenging, obscured beneath layers of collective consensus, professionalism, expertise, soft power dynamics, and entrenched tradition. The incorporeal nature of this body makes it impossible to find any systemic core, any particular organism that, if breached, would begin to collapse.

However, the recurring notions and structures of thought allow us to highlight the arena of power politics, where it is possible to discover not only what is being said, but also to grasp the rhetorical justification of direct self-/common-beneficial interests. The supported structure of feeling and recurrent concepts make it possible to feel the pressure of trajectories proposed by the established art systems, to discover the ruptures of the organism that promises openness, to reveal its contradictions, and the hidden formations of the decision-making capabilities, the forms of prestige building that open up paths, to unmask the expertness that provides the cloak of objectivity, the professionalism that determines values, and to unravel the silent demand to act in similar ways, to think in the same terms, to read and write in the corresponding philosophers’ minds. The moisture of the underground rivers being explored seeps to the surface through the ways in which the present is established, through the forms of inclusion and exclusion through which the future is actively being formed.

Outsiders is attempting to acknowledge the world as it is, to be realistic, to be part of it, to discover and map the floes of unmelting glaciers, to point the finger at the values, intellectual fashions, self-referential social relations and internal antagonisms that homogenise heterogeneous spaces. But if we want to make a difference, we don’t need to reject what is already in place, we need to find the conditions for infiltration, the possibilities to work within the system, to be a diversionary group, a „fifth column“ that exploits the vulnerability of institutions and their promise of openness, that allows us to break through the exteriors of white planes and to latch onto the spaces beyond them, to subversively exploit centres of gravity and their infrastructure, the power of memory creation and control over the future, to thrill suspended change and to exploit it in order to subvert the appearance of consensus.

Counter-Argument VI: Outsiders is a thought experiment and a platform for exploration of possible strategies, bringing together the youngest generation of artists and those who are not part of the professional contemporary art scene. This intersection attempts to discover those who are already flirting with centres of power and those who do not fit into conventional artistic categories, those who refuse to take part in the art system overall, those who have fallen out of it or been thrown out and those who are building a distance-based relationship with them.

Artists and creators: Anon, Martynas Arlauskas, Liepa Gaidauskaitė, Saulė Gerikaitė, Hux, Simona Jankauskaitė, Rokas Janušonis, Nojus Juška, Kasparas Karalius, Martina Kryževičiūtė ir Gleb Divov, Dmitrij Liachovec, Benas Lipavičius, Domas Mykolas Malinauskas, Adomas Mažeika, Luka Misiūnaitė, Tomas Obymacho, Carlos A. Rivera, Ugnė Straukaitė, Justina Stipinaitė, Gertrūda Šernaitė, Mykolas Valantinas, Gasparas Zondovas, Arnas Žėkas.

Curators: Jonas Motiejus Meškauskas, Emilis Benediktas Šeputis, Bliss

Project manager Linas Bliškevičius

Coordinator Viltė Visockaitė

Graphic designer Jokūbas Juršėnas

Lighting designer Nojus Drąsutis

Project is financed by Vilnius City Municipality

Media sponsor Lithuanian National Radio and Television

Main partner LNMA Radvila Palace Museum of Art

Partners: Vilnius City Municipality, Lithuanian Deaf Youth Association, Penaltee, Dundulis, Etmonų Špunka

Radvila Palace Museum of Art,
24 Vilniaus st, LT-01402, Vilnius, Lithuania
+370 5 250 5824